Can a"punctuation" link Neuroscience and Palaeoanthropology?

G K GRAY gord at homostudy.win-uk.net
Fri Jul 5 17:39:38 EST 1996



        A link between neuroscience and palaeoanthropology should
exist in a genetic "punctuation" (See Elena, Cooper & Lenski,
Science 272, p1802 et seq.) that appears to have been taking place
among our ancestors as recently as 140,000 years ago, probably
first in Africa. As it affected brain chemistry, clearly it  cannot
appear in our ancestors bones, but does indirectly appear  in their
cultural objects. (J.Shreeve, "The Neandertal Enigma")  
        The postulated "Eve" would have been a member of a
population that was among the most rapidly increasing at the time
she died, a population that was *most likely to spread* into other
areas.  
        The question faced is - What gave her people this
advantage? In the lands of the African Bush-People we might find
out. Kathy Brooks working at Kashanga found an assortment of
finely-worked tools most probably harpoon heads.  
        These were finally  dated significantly much earlier than
any known Cromagnon tools and Upper Palaeolithic tools generally.
They showed nevertheless imaginative skills not found in other Early
and Middle Stone Age collections 

        But what stood firm was the evidence for a spurt
of developing *imagination* in the production and application of
artifacts beginning about the same time as she is considered to
have lived. This points to some heritable change in brain chemistry
that affected our consciousness of the world. This finding is
independent of the computer programme used to back the "African
Eve" hypothesis

Cheers| Gord






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